Early Music Training: Perfect Pitch

Gareth was a musical baby. He loves music and he reacts strongly to it. Although many children respond well to music, I like to think that Gareth has a stronger than average affinity for music that signifies some innate musical potential. Naturally, I’ve been trying to find ways to develop his musical interest and have been employing various methods including music iPhone/iPad apps.

I was waiting to try Little Musician with him. Unfortunately, it has yet to be launched (hopefully sometime later in the year). Then I noticed he was responding very well to the music part of his TweedleWink lesson, especially with the tuning forks, so I bit the bullet and got him a set of tuning forks (also available from the Right Brain Kids shop) to continue his perfect pitch training at home.

Perfect pitch training with the tuning forks appears to be similar to the Red Dot Math program (see Doman’s Math Method and Shichida’s 65 Day Math Program) where the optimum time for introducing the program is before the age of 3. Although you can do the program with an older child, I have been made to understand that it is better to begin before the age of 3. I assume that means that your success rate is better if you started before your child has turned 3. Since the investment of the tuning forks is not a small one, I guess that is also why they don’t usually recommend the program for older children. However, as with all educational programs, with a dedicated, loving parent and a receptive child, anything is possible.

That said, you can still do this program without tuning forks as long as the tools you use are capable of producing the correct frequencies. A well-tuned piano (make sure you get your piano tuned regularly or you mignt end up teaching your child incorrect frequencies), a high-precision xylophone (that means not a toy xylophone), and other similar instruments can be used in place of the tuning fork. The benefit of using tuning forks is that it also allows your child to feel the vibration of each frequency adding a tactile component to your program as well as an auditory and visual one.

What’s involved in the tuning fork perfect pitch program?

It is a pretty simple program that doesn’t require a lot of time. Introduce each musical note to your child with the corresponding tuning fork. Let your child listen to the sound of the frequency. Let your child feel the vibration of the frequency. Play the frequency on various objects (you can do this by touching the tuning fork to a variety of objects, e.g. paper, a wooden board, etc.). Let your child see the corresponding musical notation. If you have any instruments at home, you can also show your child how to produce the same frequency on those instruments.

Once your child has gone through the entire octave, you can teach your child the difference between two musical notes, e.g. C and C sharp, C and D, C and D sharp, etc.

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Comments

  1. Hi Jessica – glad to hear. Gareth enjoyed it so much I wanted to continue cultivating his interest in music.

  2. Thanks Shen Li & Fz,

    My Little One is crazy about music too. He loves the perfect pitch and tuning forks segment.

    I was comtemplating (cause of the price) but you guys convinced me..thanks 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for your testimony, Fz. You are inspiring!

  4. Fz Teh says:

    ( I suppose to write my tangible testimony in Right Brain Kids’ Facebook that Tuning Forks have been the best germ of correcting perfect pitching capability but decided to leave comment hereinbefore because I read this small writeup first before others.

    Yes, Tuning Forks,  what is the benefit of Tuning Forks ? According to Shenli’s write-up, it is pretty clear, i.e. to let the young children picking up perfect pitching. My testimony is “IT DOES EFFECTIVELY CORRECT PITCHING” if you think your kid is “weak” in this area initially.

    My daughter was already 5 when I purchased the Forks and experience tells me that age is certainly not a barrier. The same goes to practice. I took 4 months to correct her hearing/pitching ability. Even though the handbook suggests 15 minutes of music pitch training per day to gain optimal results,  well, I think it all depends on individual.  I don’t do it daily, perhaps in the alternate, or 3/4 days per week, but the results are amazing, my daughter has transformed from a young music learner who is NOT GOOD at all with simple pitching of c, d, e, f, g, a, b to someone who is pretty IMPRESSED by now to not only have all simple notes wiring accurately with her auditory,  but also to SHARPS as well as simple CHORDS,  to name a few : D Minor, C7, G Major, C Major, D Major, F Major, F Minor….by just pushing the piano keys simultaneously ( give her allowance of making very minor hearing mistake sometimes, if it does occur) ( But for a 5 yo child, I think this is pretty encouraging).

    The other tips, before I used Tuning Forks I used piano and high quality xylophone to teach pitching,  well, I think the results are not apparent compared to Tuning Forks perhaps for a simple reason that Tuning Forks generate “ONLY CONSTANT SOUND WAVE FREQUENCY” as pointed out in Right Brain Kid’s Handbook as opposed to the ones mentioned that have frequencies with many degrees. 

    So I am very pleased to let parents know that you may try Tuning Forks if you think your child may not have this part of training. Just try as you have nothing to lose if you try since they are young.

    Perfect pitching is important in terms of any musical learning, I think, practically because the child doesn’t need to learn the instrument in a hard way but to teach the child to enjoy music joyfully, easily with ease. So the more I see it the more I understand why V is catching up fast with her piano lessons, she is doing Level 2 pieces within 8 months times, and I notice she practices, she hums the notes and then she plays by memory. Humming exactly coincides with the basic humming frequencies training in Tuning Forks.

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